Development of a Model to Design Wind-Photovoltaic Stand-alone Electrification Projects in Isolated Communities

Author: Dr. Bruno Domenech, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya 

Electrification systems based on the use of renewable energies can provide much needed electricity to isolated communities, particularly those living in poverty in rural areas. Designs that combine wind and photovoltaic (PV) technologies as well as individual systems and microgrids have proven advantageous. 

In this context, the aim of this case study is that students develop a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model to design such projects. The model is based on the one presented by Ferrer-Martí et al. [2013] and allows minimizing the project cost, while considering the detail of the community, the energy resources and the available equipment. As a result, the size and location of all the equipment to install are defined.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

  1. Understand the problem of the lack of access to electricity worldwide and its consequences 
  2. Know the main components of rural electrification systems and the technical relationships between them
  3. Formulate a MILP model to solve a complex problem, clearly defining the data necessary, the variables defining the solution, the objective function and the constraints
  4. Solve the developed MILP model using specialized software, and explain the solution in a clear and structured way

ACTIVITIES

Class Activity: students work on developing an initial MILP model in groups of 3 or 4, followed by a discussion between all the students and the lecturer in order to clarify the concepts and solve any doubts that may arise. 

Homework Activity: students start from the initial model developed previously, and have to include some new considerations, obtaining a comprehensive model that allows solving stand-alone electrification projects, using PV and wind energies and combining individual systems and microgrids. The example is based on real data.

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